Peer Support Model

As a best-practice model for supporting people who have been diagnosed as HIV positive, peer support can be one of the most significant tools a person can use on the journey to positive living / living positive. This model relies on individuals who live with HIV (PLHIV) to provide peer-to-peer support to others, drawing on their own experiences to promote wellness and positive living / living positive. Peer support is about getting help from someone who’s been there.

Based on mutual respect and personal responsibility, peer support focuses on wellness rather than on illness and disability. Peers share with one another their experiences, their strengths, and their hopes – a powerful combination for living positively.

Peer Supporters are people living with HIV and/or co-infected with HEPC who have completed specific training that enables them to enhance a person’s wellness by providing peer support.  Peer support can be a one-on-one experience or a group of people sharing together.

Peer Supporters give nonjudgmental, non-directive support to a peer who is experiencing issues in relation to living with HIV. It is short termed and provided by a peer instead of a “health professional”.

Peer support is the use of active listening and problem solving skills to help peers and it is support based upon the concept that people are capable of solving most of their own problems of daily living. Peer support sessions are structured so that the person generates solutions that they are more likely to act upon.

Peer support works because:

  • It provides people an essential resource for positive living / living positive.
  • It is easier to identify and communicate with someone who has lived through and survived some of the same events or experiences.
  • There are no limits except if someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others.
  • It takes place in a one-on-one, confidential setting and creates a special bond of trust between two individuals.
  • People feel a sense of hope and inspiration from peers.
  • It offers an opportunity for a person to achieve a greater level of independence and self-sufficiency through role modeling and encouragement by peers.
  • Peer support is a powerful agent for change.
Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 101 - 1139 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3N2
Phone: 250.382.7927 | Fax: 250.382.3232 | Toll Free: 1.877.382.7927 | support@vpwas.org | www.vpwas.org |